Young and In Love, the (Pre-)Trip Report Pre-Trip Anticipation Howdy, all! I have stalked the trip reports for years, and am so incredibly excited to be writing my very first one! This trip is exceptionally special because it is a vacation that my fiance and I are taking to celebrate our engagement!! We've been planning on getting engaged for a while--and I knew it would happen soon--but he JUST proposed on our 4th anniversary on October 27!! We're so elated to be officially engaged! Here's a tiny phone picture of us right after we got engaged in Union Square--taken by a friendly parks dept. employee. And here's a GIANT picture of the ring! (It's was his grandmother's.) The other piece of the back story (and part of why he waited so long to officially propose) is because we've been taking care of my grandmother for the past 3 years-- first going upstate every weekend visiting her and taking care of her doctors and finances for 2 years, and then, this past January, she moved in with us into our 1-bedroom apartment in Queens with our four crazy cats. Here are our four crazy cats: Abigail, after bringing her in from the street last year: Sasha, our sad little scaredy-cat: Ella, our Panther, in a roaster pan: Ella and Panther, in squirrel-related anguish: After 10 months of home health aide coordinating, doctors' visits, blood pressure monitoring, and just general conversation-making-with-a-person-with-dementia (I'm sure many know what I mean that this can be the most exhausting part), she collapsed seemingly out of nowhere with a UTI one week before she was set to move in with my parents. We got an ambulance in time--I honestly thought she would die--but she's made an incredible turn-around after a short hospitalization and stay in rehab. As her health care proxy, I am absolutely exhausted, and as her primary care giver, Matt is, too. But finally she'll be leaving to move in with my parents on December 13, and we'll be leaving for vacation the very next day!! We will miss having her home with us! Here's grandma on her birthday last year-- she LOVED eating this mocha cake!! It's an EXCELLENT Chloe Coscarelli recipe. So in a very big way we've been waiting until we had our lives a little bit more to ourselves to celebrate that next big step. In fact, the hotels are being covered by my parents' DVC points--granted they were about to just let an entire years' worth expire (!!!!), but I know that my whole family gladly let us have them in part to recognize how we've helped to take care of my grandmother. So in more ways than one this is truly a celebration of beginning the next stage of our lives. Without further ado, I'd like to make some formal introductions! Matt: 26 years old (pic of both of us--because I have none of us individually?) Real Life Persona: Salesforce Database Administrator and Programmer at a nonprofit Super Powers: Patience, Kindness, Seeking out educational written information in any setting and becoming distracted by it Feelings about WDW: Meh Been there, Done that: Only once before 3 years ago on a strained vacation with my family for 5 days at POR Feelings about going on a romantic vacation and giving it a 2nd chance: Extremely positive Favorite Attractions: Magic Kingdom--Splash Mountain ("the one with the critters"), Frontierland Shooting Arcade; Animal Kingdom--Maharajah Jungle Trek; Epcot--none (he hated the place); Hollywood Studios--Tower of Terror Favorite Park: Blizzard Beach Favorite Resort Past-time: whiling away laundry quarters at the arcade Samantha: 27 years old (more shameless smoochie-faced pictures... we will have better photos after this trip!!!) Real Life Persona: Analyst at a nonprofit (we work at the same nonprofit) Super Powers: Planning, Enthusiasm, Ability to sleep soundly in any setting Feelings about WDW: Extremely positive Been there, Done that: Pretty much exactly once every 4 years throughout my childhood and now into my adulthood--this will be my 7th trip Favorite Attractions: Magic Kingdom--Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain; Animal Kingdom--the gibbons at the temple; Epcot--Soarin' (although I hate that they don't just use the full word, who actually pronounces gerands like that?); Hollywood Studios--Toy Story Mania Favorite Park: Animal Kingdom Favorite Resort Past-time: Exploring at night and going for night-time swims The Plan: This trip is actually going to be a smattering of a lot of things--it's an extended road trip down to Disney! What's in store? Eight nights at Disney at a quadruple split stay (SSR, BLT, AKL, BWV), lots of great meals--many of them vegan (including several signatures), both water parks if it's warm enough, Christmas at Hilton Head, stops at Luray Caverns, the Biltmore Mansion, ziplining in Asheville, NC, Richmond, VA, Civil War battlefields and museums in Richmond, and some destinations in Boston, too. I can't wait to go and share it all with you!! We're so close to leaving-- I just have to get these finals done with and stop being so distracted!! I hope I'll get a couple readers and I'll do my best to post some live updates. Can't wait to go on vacation and deliver a trip report!! Consistency isn't always my strong suit, but I know how much joy I've gotten from reading others' and I hope I can share some fun experiences with you all. Happy Holidays!!! FIVE MORE DAYS!